When September ends

September was the month I didn’t travel at all. Instead, people travelled to see me in Singapore. My sister came to visit from Penang, and we had a ball of a time hanging out until 2am everyday.

We ate late night dim sum on Jalan Besar, shopped till we dropped in Mustafa Centre, sat by the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay and hung out till the wee hours of the morning watching the traffic from Marina Bay Sands. We ate ice cream at IKEA, went to see jellyfish at the SEA Aquarium and watched Percy Jackson at VivoCity. Pretty ordinary things, but made extraordinary by people who love you. And vice versa.

dolphins
A sleepy dolphin at the SEA Aquarium

One of my childhood friends, whom I have known since age 7, also came to visit. This is the third time I’ve met up with her in Singapore, and each trip gets better and better. First we had lunch at Nassim Hill Bakery, one of my favourite brunch places in the Orchard area for its decent coffee, good food, value for money and relatively underrated location. I ordered the salmon omelette, which came with a basket of delicious bread, jam and marmalade.

buangkok
Beautiful kampung house in Kampung Buangkok

Then we explored Kampong Buangkok in Buangkok, reportedly one of the last villages left in Singapore. The odd 10 or so kampung houses around Gerald Drive reminds me of Pulau Ubin, and it’s great to see that they have been preserved till today. The very industrial and rustic feel makes it seem like you’re entering a movie set (Is this real? You’ll be asking), with unkempt backyards, homemade swings, banana trees, cocoa trees and lots and lots of mosquitoes.

buangkok banana
Amidst the banana tree and shrubbery, there you’ll find me

After that we were off to Chomp Chomp Food Centre in Serangoon Gardens, a pretty decent hawker centre in an area that feels very much like Holland Village and Bangsar in KL. At 6pm on a Saturday, the place was already packed with people. We ordered the famous sugar cane drink, wantan mee and lor bak (also known as ngor hiong on this side of the Straits).

Besides the two beautiful people who came to visit me, September was a month of spending quality time with friends in Singapore. There were many sleepovers in Tiong Bahru, a night doing the Insanity workout, a Skype chat with my best friend who is getting married at the end of the year, a Saturday night out lepaking outside Century Mall in Tampines with some awfully good cake and an awfully good woman.

century mall
Loitering outside Century Mall on a Saturday night – it’s been a while!

September was also the month where I went a bit crazy with food. I rediscovered the chef in me when I found my local Fairprice Xtra in Changi Business Park, and had a bout of British food revenge (or rather, foods I learnt to cook during my time in Manchester) making lasagnas and enchilladas. Reliving my UK lifestyle, I invited a friend over for a dinner of salmon with roasted potatoes and asparagus, white wine, mini Magnum, Star Trek and a big English breakfast the day after. Oh, the life!

Other than that, there was a delicious brunch treat at Benjamin Browns Bistro in Forum Shopping Mall (the sticky date pudding is highly recommended!), a farewell dinner for a beloved colleague at Sofra Turkish Restaurant on Beach Road, a chicken rice birthday party in Bugis, my hotel review at M Hotel in Tanjong Pagar, a surprise proposal at Sentosa, a women’s conference at church and a camera rental adventure in Clarke Quay. Bring on October!

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